The Future of Zero Trust and SASE is Now! Register now

close
close
The platform of the future is Netskope

Intelligent Security Service Edge (SSE), Cloud Access Security Broker (CASB), Cloud Firewall, Next Generation Secure Web Gateway (SWG), and Private Access for ZTNA built natively into a single solution to help every business on its journey to Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture.

Go to Products Overview
Netskope video
Next Gen SASE Branch is hybrid — connected, secured, and automated

Netskope Next Gen SASE Branch converges Context-Aware SASE Fabric, Zero-Trust Hybrid Security, and SkopeAI-powered Cloud Orchestrator into a unified cloud offering, ushering in a fully modernized branch experience for the borderless enterprise.

Learn about Next Gen SASE Branch
People at the open space office
Designing a SASE Architecture For Dummies

Get your complimentary copy of the only guide to SASE design you’ll ever need.

Get the eBook
Embrace a Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) architecture

Netskope NewEdge is the world’s largest, highest-performing security private cloud and provides customers with unparalleled service coverage, performance and resilience.

Learn about NewEdge
NewEdge
Your Network of Tomorrow

Plan your path toward a faster, more secure, and more resilient network designed for the applications and users that you support.

Get the white paper
Your Network of Tomorrow
Netskope Cloud Exchange

The Netskope Cloud Exchange (CE) provides customers with powerful integration tools to leverage investments across their security posture.

Learn about Cloud Exchange
Netskope video
Make the move to market-leading cloud security services with minimal latency and high reliability.

Learn about NewEdge
Lighted highway through mountainside switchbacks
Safely enable the use of generative AI applications with application access control, real-time user coaching, and best-in-class data protection.

Learn how we secure generative AI use
Safely Enable ChatGPT and Generative AI
Zero trust solutions for SSE and SASE deployments

Learn about Zero Trust
Boat driving through open sea
Netskope achieves FedRAMP High Authorization

Choose Netskope GovCloud to accelerate your agency’s transformation.

Learn about Netskope GovCloud
Netskope GovCloud
  • Resources chevron

    Learn more about how Netskope can help you secure your journey to the cloud.

  • Blog chevron

    Learn how Netskope enables security and networking transformation through security service edge (SSE).

  • Events & Workshops chevron

    Stay ahead of the latest security trends and connect with your peers.

  • Security Defined chevron

    Everything you need to know in our cybersecurity encyclopedia.

Security Visionaries Podcast

Cookies, Not Biscuits
Host Emily Wearmouthas sits down with experts David Fairman and Zohar Hod to discuss the past, present, and future of internet cookies.

Play the podcast
Podcast: Cookies, Not Biscuits
Latest Blogs

How Netskope can enable the Zero Trust and SASE journey through security service edge (SSE) capabilities.

Read the blog
Sunrise and cloudy sky
SASE Week 2023: Your SASE journey starts now!

Replay sessions from the fourth annual SASE Week.

Explore sessions
SASE Week 2023
What is Security Service Edge?

Explore the security side of SASE, the future of network and protection in the cloud.

Learn about Security Service Edge
Four-way roundabout
We help our customers to be Ready for Anything

See our Customers
Woman smiling with glasses looking out window
Netskope’s talented and experienced Professional Services team provides a prescriptive approach to your successful implementation.

Learn about Professional Services
Netskope Professional Services
The Netskope Community can help you and your team get more value out of products and practices.

Go to the Netskope Community
The Netskope Community
Secure your digital transformation journey and make the most of your cloud, web, and private applications with Netskope training.

Learn about Training and Certifications
Group of young professionals working
  • Company chevron

    We help you stay ahead of cloud, data, and network security challenges.

  • Why Netskope chevron

    Cloud transformation and work from anywhere have changed how security needs to work.

  • Leadership chevron

    Our leadership team is fiercely committed to doing everything it takes to make our customers successful.

  • Partners chevron

    We partner with security leaders to help you secure your journey to the cloud.

Supporting sustainability through data security

Netskope is proud to participate in Vision 2045: an initiative aimed to raise awareness on private industry’s role in sustainability.

Find out more
Supporting Sustainability Through Data Security
Highest in Execution. Furthest in Vision.

Netskope recognized as a Leader in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Service Edge.

Get the report
Netskope recognized as a Leader in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Security Service Edge.
Thinkers, builders, dreamers, innovators. Together, we deliver cutting-edge cloud security solutions to help our customers protect their data and people.

Meet our team
Group of hikers scaling a snowy mountain
Netskope’s partner-centric go-to-market strategy enables our partners to maximize their growth and profitability while transforming enterprise security.

Learn about Netskope Partners
Group of diverse young professionals smiling

Keeping Your Data Safe in the “Gig Economy”

Nov 25 2020

As workforces continue to evolve and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, the door is open for organizations to hire workers from anywhere around the country to offer their skills remotely as needed, often as a freelancer or gig worker. While this outgrowth of the burgeoning gig economy stands to benefit many businesses in need, it’s important that you assess your risk of utilizing gig workers and freelancers.

The “gig economy” refers to the trend of workers becoming independent contractors who freelance who use their skills to work for different companies at one time. The growth in online platforms and the acceptance of corporate remote workers make it easier than ever to work for multiple companies at the same time. The gig economy represents a big change in the way we think about and manage remote workers. More than one-third of US workers (36%) participate in the gig economy, either through their primary or secondary jobs, and more than 90% of Americans are open to freelancing or independent contract work. The entire world is wondering what the “New Normal” will look like, but most agree that we won’t see 100% of staff return to the office environment. Given the acceleration of remote workers and the growth of the gig economy demands a change in your data protection strategy. 

Think about Uber, which uses algorithms to match gig workers with riders. Uber created an entirely new industry sector using gig “freelancers” to comprise the workforce. These independent contractors (currently under dispute in California) set their own schedules and use the Uber platform to connect with riders. This caused a fundamental shift in workers from full-time taxi drivers to an army of part-time Uber and Lyft drivers.  

Changing concerns about access and control

How does the gig economy differ from the contractors we have today? From an access and controls perspective, there may not initially seem like a lot of difference. Or is there?  

In the past, we have hired contractors from a contracting firm where we vet the firm and require background checks on the contractors. Unlike regular vendors or contractors, who we require to have endpoint security controls in place such as endpoint detection and response (EDR), encrypted hard-drives, patch management, strong passwords, and use encrypted tunnels to access our systems, the new gig economy workers often do not have these controls on their systems. This is because they’re using their own personal device to work for multiple companies, which don’t adhere to any of the security requirements and cause headaches for security teams.

In the gig economy, workers have flexibility with their schedule and workload, and organizations can benefit from the expertise of skilled workers in our fast-paced business digitalization environment. However, there are several unique security concerns and challenges to consider, such as: How much access do freelancers have to sensitive information? Are they accessing necessary data securely? How do security teams monitor threats for workers that may also be working for their competitor?

Freelancers are likely working with many different companies at one time. With each of these companies and projects, they may store sensitive information on their systems.  If they are a specialist that you hire, they can reuse research, programming ideas, marketing concepts, etc., for another company, maybe even your competitor. This trend of utilizing gig economy workers is on the rise, and the pandemic has only accelerated things.

Freelancing on company time 

In another twist, it’s possible your full-time employees may be participating in the gig economy as well. As you combine the gig economy workforce with the growing remote workforce, a new threat vector emerges. When staff members are working in a traditional office there is a natural barrier to working on other company projects during the day. The LAN network security controls will limit their ability to access an external company’s systems. In open-concept offices having a conversation with another employer is difficult. But if they are working from home then how do you know whether they are working for other organizations or possibly even your competitor? Back to my earlier example, Uber drivers frequently also drive for Lyft too, direct competitors.

The growth of the gig economy where freelancing has become the norm begs the question, how will companies understand what their staff is working on at home? A true contractor will work from a BYOD device and the appropriate controls will be put around their access and abilities to access sensitive data. But what about the full-time employee that decides to make some extra money at home by doing freelance work?  How do you detect that an employee is now spending a large percentage of their time working on another company’s projects?  

The gig economy represents a new threat to the systems that are running in the remote work environment. How can you ensure that company secrets or intellectual property are not accidentally or purposefully being used to enhance other company’s products and services?

Securing your information in the gig economy

There isn’t a perfect strategy but certainly some essential capabilities to manage the security for the gig economy workers is Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) and active inline cloud monitoring and data protection. With ZTNA you can manage the access to key resources and adjust privileges based on behavior, device, location, and sensitivity of the data. With inline real-time cloud monitoring and user behavior analytics it is possible to detect changes in usage and prevent the movement of sensitive data. Implementing a cloud access service broker (CASB) solution with advanced data leakage prevention (DLP) will provide the required visibility and protection of your sensitive data. 

It is time to revamp your insider threat program. Expect that you will have freelance gig workers on your sensitive projects with access to your sensitive data and they will be doing work for your competitor. Change the way your gig workers access and manipulate data by limiting access to your cloud collaboration systems.  Establish tightly bound controls around your sensitive information. Restrict editing, creating, and copying within the corporate-approved cloud collaboration system. Do not allow downloading. 

I’m interested to hear ideas on how to detect a freelancer that may be using your sensitive information on other company projects, and how to protect your sensitive data for this unique type of user.

This blog was originally published on Toolbox Security as “How to Maintain Data Security in the “Gig Economy””

author image
James Christiansen
James Christiansen is Netskope’s vice president of cloud security transformation and leader of the Global Chief Strategy Office. He is focused on enhancing Netskope’s global clients understand the challenges and solutions of cloud deployments by helping drive thought leadership in cloud security transformation.

Stay informed!

Subscribe for the latest from the Netskope Blog